Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church A Blessed New Year To hear this message and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
“Happy” New Year! Romans 12:10-15
The greeting is universal and is said every year… but this is certainly not the best greeting for a Christian to say especially when we look at the word “Happy”:
Hap-py –adjective, -pi·er, -pi·est. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind. 2. favored by fortune; fortunate or luck.
For many in our city and in our church, this new year has begun in the most unhappy of ways. There is no pleasure, no happy mood or happy frame of mind. Some do not feel favored by fortune, fortunate or lucky. This year has begun with the loss of a job, a broken relationship, the loss of a loved one, discouraging news, or some other deep sense of loss. As Christians we need to be aware of those who are crushed in spirit. For many this new year rings in with a thud. God’s word tells us to “be devoted to one another in love and honor one another above ourselves…to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” To do this we must greet people with more than a “Happy New Year!” or quick unconcerned “how ‘ya doing”. Do we really care how the other is feeling? Jesus does.
“Blessed” New Year! Matthew 5:1-12, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Have a ‘blessed’ New Year” is a better greeting for all who are in the faith and “God bless you” rather than “how ‘ya doin?” The word “blessed” in the Greek translates to our English word “happy” but it is richer, deeper and denotes God’s approval. Where happiness is circumstantial, being blessed is God’s hand of grace upon one’s life. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He makes this distinction. He begins each line with a state of being and rewards it with a promise. The promise is only available to those who commit themselves to the Lordship of Christ in faith. They are blessed for this reason alone. They can look beyond unhappy circumstances and see the promise of a gracious God who will deliver what He has promised to His faithful children:
State of Being: Promise:
Poor In Spirit: broken hearted, discouraged, sad. Have a home in Heaven
He promises believers Heaven where there are no more tears (Revelation 21:4).
Those Mourning: Crying over great loss, grieving. Will be Comforted by God
The God of comfort promises to be with His own (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
We, therefore, can later comfort others with the comfort that we have received.
The Meek: gentle, submissive (negative to the worldly). Will inherit the earth
Man sees meekness as weakness but God sees it as strength. The meek can see their need for God and submit to Him readily. The promise of inheriting the earth is in relation to reigning and ruling with Christ when He returns in glory! 2 Timothy 2:12
Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness: Passionate for God’s will Will be filled!
Man sees righteousness as weakness and holiness as humdrum, but these things are the will of God in our lives. Jesus said His food was to do the will of the one who sent Him (John 4:34). God fills up our soul as we do His will.
The Merciful: Those who show care, concern and compassion Will receive Mercy
The Pure of Heart: Those who want to please God and do His will. Will See God
The Peacemakers: Those who bring peace. Will be known as God’s sons
Those who suffer: Persecuted for standing up for God. Will be Rewarded with Heaven
Be-Attitudes Matthew 5:13-16
The attitudes above are what we as Christians are to be. We are to be brokenhearted for the things that break God’s heart, and conscious of our own sin and broken by them. We should be submissive to His will and hunger and thirst for what pleases Him. We are to be merciful, pure, peace loving, and suffer if we must to keep these attitudes and live them out in a world full of hate, bitterness, self-centeredness and pain. God’s promises for us who put on these attitudes is to be blessed with the hope of His promises and a blessing to those who know us.
To be “Blessed” of God is to be known by Him, touched by Him and responsive to Him and to reciprocate His love for you unto others.
New Year’s Resolutions? Matthew 6:33
We as Christians will not always be “happy” in the circumstantial sense of the word. Life will happen: the good, the bad and the ugly. We cannot change circumstances but we can always change our attitude. Does your attitude reflect what Jesus calls “Blessed?” Does your attitude reflect the grace, mercy, and righteousness that God expects from His children? Are you full of His promises or full of yourself?
No matter how this year has begun for you, Jesus offers a blessing to any who call upon Him. He wants to change our hearts and not necessarily our circumstances. There is no better New Year’s resolution than your resolve to follow Christ.
Insanity Proverbs 12:15, 25:28
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Let ‘s all stop being insane! Only walking with Jesus can create a new heart in us. Only He can make all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17). In this New Year let us truly give God control of our lives (all of it) and see what good He can do with a heart that truly belongs to Him. Let us finally listen to the advice of the one who made us and stop doing what seems right to us (Proverbs 12:15). Let us not be like a city with broken down walls (or a border for that matter). We all lack self control (Proverbs 25:28) so let God take the wheel of your life…Put on the attitude of His passenger and have a “blessed New year”.